Sunday, 5 July 2015

Senior Champs

I have had a great week! Jill and I have been in Edmonton at Senior Champs. My job is to keep Jill fed and rested. Other than that, I walk, read, and visit with friends. It is wonderful!

More on Jill's results later.

Jill and Sean. What is she looking at? A spider? A band of naked cyclists? A misunderstood band aid on the bottom of the pool? (Sometimes band aids look like poo....causes great concern) :)

Jill and Sean and Kieran and Emmett. Funny how Jill and Emmett have the same swim suit.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

What I have learned....

A year ago we were at provincials. As we pulled into the driveway, we opened up a recently sent  email that unleashed a torrent. That torrent took over our summer. It started a series of events that stole many people's summer, caused great stress and in the end, really changed the swim club - but not the way the torrent creators expected.

So what have I learned from it all?

1. It is never too late. When I played racquetball with my dad, and I'd miss, he would always yell, "Get it again!" You can always hit it after the bounce if you miss it before the bounce. Life is like that. Even when something crazy happens and it seems like people are way down that road, it is never too late to turn around.
2. If people won't listen, and you really want to be heard, get organized. When we got the news that they were firing our coach, we immediately tried to contact the board to get some history. They wouldn't talk. We even got creative in trying to talk to the board. We were told to go away (that is the very polite and kind version of how they told us to go away). Their minds were made up and they said there was no turning back. Since their job was to represent the members, we decided to organize. Our collective voice made a difference.
3. If you aren't happy with how things are in an organization, you better have everyone on board before you decide to revolutionize it with your little merry band of dissenters. The board members ended up all resigning. The new board has worked hard to repair the damage, build relationships, and focus on the areas of weakness. They have done an amazing job.
4. Never quit. Nothîng is irreparable. And if you are not happy with a situation, find a situation where you will be happier. 
5. Good can come out of a seemingly terrible situation. There have been changes made in the club that are really great. We could have made these changes without all the drama, but I will be grateful for the changes, nonetheless.

The interesting thing is when we look at that list of people who wanted a different coach, none of them were at A's this year and most of them aren't even swimming anymore. Did that happen because their dissatisfaction actually wasn't rooted in who was coaching? Or was the mutiny such an experience that it even spilled over into their kid's lives and tainted their desire to swim? Or maybe the issue was more about the parents than the kids? Hard to say. All I know is we are grateful to still be here!

Thursday, 2 July 2015

On judging.....

When I first read this story I was really focused on the siblings who are busy preparing gifts for their father. I wondered if I was like that: so caught up in my to do lists that I miss the real purpose of the pursuit. In many ways I am just like them. I need to not worry about my to do lists so much and focus on enjoying time with people around me more, for sure.

One day recently, I discovered I had someone who I thought really loved me (well, actually, if I were to ask that person they would vehemently declare their love, I am sure). The trouble is, apparently there are many things about me that are disappointing. I am apparently just not quite enough. Not good enough at cleaning my house. Not providing enough attention for this person. Not quite fun enough. Not quite conservative enough. Not fancy enough in my dress or my hairstyle. They use the words often, telling me that they love me. Apparently, though, their love for me is rather conditional. I could just be easier to love or they would like to spend time with me if only....

It took a toll on me for quite a while. One day, while I was walking, I was thinking about how sad and angry I felt about it all. My thoughts suddenly turned to this story. I realized that by focusing on those things, this person wasn't just being unkind, they were missing out. (There is much to appreciate about me!) But more than that, by focusing on my perceived inadequacies, they are missing out on recognizing God's hand in their own life. They are missing out on the sunshine. They are missing out on feeling God's love for people around them. Suddenly I didn't feel so bad for me anymore. I didn't feel angry. I actually felt sorry that they are not only so focused on negatives, but also missing out on the love God has to give. I no longer felt like I needed to straighten them out for their opinions about me. Instead I felt like the best thing I could do is not worry about it and instead show love. I am who I am. They are who they are....and what we, just like everyone else needs, is unconditional love. Not judgement.

The criticism wasn't just for me. It extended to those I love the most. My daughter is one of those people who truly do see the good in people. She is kind. She puts others ahead of herself. She is nice to those kids no one really seems to care about. Because of that, when people are critical of her it makes me a little crazy. She isn't perfect, but she is kind and loving - and surely that is more important than any weaknesses she may have. Put me down all you want. Once you start putting her down though, you have gone too far. I feel the same way about my son and my husband too. They are good men. They aren't perfect, but there is just so much about them that is to be appreciated and admired. To hear someone put them down gets my hackles up. (Yup. Don't mess with the Mama bear!)

This story is about an orphaned family who gets word they are going to be adopted. Their new adoptive father is a king! This is truly rare luck and they prepare for this great event as best they can. All the children prepare excellent gifts - except for one. She just doesn't have the talents the others have. She tries to learn, but it just doesn't work out. She, instead, worries that she won't have something good enough to offer.

The interesting thing is that although some of the children do not recognize him right away, he is patient and says that he will return and give them another chance to realize it is him. Yet in the meantime, they miss out on blessings they could immediately have. The story insinuates that they likely will, in time recognize their father. It made me think about how I don't want to waste any time. I would rather be living in a way that helps me recognize God in my life immediately. It is a great story.

I took this book to church the other day with plans to share it (isn't there always a picture book that makes every lesson just a little better?!) In the end, I didn't end up using it in my lesson. The interesting thing was during the next class I went to there was a perfect moment to share it. However, I didn't feel like I should ask to take over the lesson (could I just take 10 minutes and share this great story? Doesn't seem le a good idea when someone else is teaching). Instead I made a Book Creator video and publshed it.

Untitled from Dawn Ackroyd on Vimeo.

Interestingly, I think the Goodreads summary total has this book wrong. It says: 

One of the greatest gifts parents can give their children is the assurance that Mom and Dad love them just as they are, apart from anything that they do. But telling them once won't make it sink in

I really would disagree. That isn't at all what it is about!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Procrastination Project

I'm embarrassed about how long this has taken me. I made it for a family in the swim club. It's been more than a year in the making. I really do enjoy sewing. It just seems to be lowest on my list of things to do. However, I finally got it done. Now I can give it to them at the swim meet this weekend. Phew!!

Yea! June is Over!

June didn't work out so well for walking. We bought another car and suddenly I had a car at my disposal any old time I wanted it. June is a crazy busy month in a teacher's life and it just was so much easier to jump in the car rather than walk most days. Boooo to that! It really put a damper on my walks meetings with my dear friend, Sandra, as well.

30 km...that is terrible.

It is a new month though. I've been walking every day since school ended Friday. Loving it! Maybe I will do 200 km this month!!